(Originally published on Grateful Music)
Russell’s Round Room
Music guides us, binds us, takes us through our darkest hours, and accompanies us through our greatest triumphs. It’s our therapy through tragedy, and our soundtrack through serenity. And on Friday evening, as music lovers perished, it was brutally besieged. In this age when terror attacks have become a daily possibility, and many of us have numbed ourselves to the specter of these catastrophes hitting home, a concert venue being the target of such hate chills us to the bone. Our sanctuary, our abode on the road, where we often find our truer selves, where we transcend the monotony of daily existence, has been breached by the blood and fury of those with the express mission to spread dread. Yet while music was viciously violated this night, it will be the very thing that heals us in the end.
No doubt upon hearing of this attack, many of us briefly envisioned what it would be like in such a scenario, as it isn’t a stretch to put ourselves in the shoes of the Eagles of Death Metal fans, crew, and band members at their Friday night concert at the Bataclan. Fear is natural, and is the direct goal of a terror event, driven home as this particular strike hit six different public spheres throughout Paris. We may feel unease upon our first entrance into a music venue after this attack, but France will recover from this tragedy, as our distress will pass. In marching through our fear, the music will heal our misgivings on the other side. As we trust in the melody to get us through, our resolve as a collective will help us move on.
Music is my therapy, and in a live setting it’s superbly intensive. Whatever social anxiety, shyness, or melancholia I sometimes experience on the outside is quickly shed afar at a live music gathering. When I get confused and listen to the music play, my ills often melt away. Now today as some of us are likely agonizing over a sense of innocence that’s been lost for our greatest escape, we try to make sense of the nonsensical. As live music has been the soundtrack that has kept our lives in motion all these years, this attack appears as a personal affront to our very way of being. Many of us happen to be the best versions of ourselves when taking in music firsthand with our loved ones. And as we contemplate and process these events, our transcendent selves will reign supreme, as we preserve our therapeutic outlet, and that outlet maintains us.
While everyone processes tragedy differently, we should aim to let the music heal, as it has always done. Let us walk through the despair together at our next live music event. Let us use this tragedy as a reminder of the privilege we sometimes take for granted, the honor to see our favorite musicians year after year in safety. Let’s look out for each other on our musical journeys, and while we’ve always done this, let’s pay extra special attention to those around us, and lend helping hands when we can. We never know when danger is around the corner, so lets be cautious, but as it’s sometimes unavoidable, let’s live it up in the moment, traversing our trepidation, one show at a time, with each other.
Let’s project those good vibes when we can, because in the end positive energy will outweigh the negative, if we let it. And through the music positivity reigns freely. Never will terrorists’ hell bent on disturbing our way of life take away our hymns and harmonies. As long as humans roam the earth, there will be live tunes to absorb. It could be the cockroaches and a couple of us, and we’ll figure a way to make music. Music is inbred in our souls. We take as much a part in creating it as it does in shaping our lives and our surroundings. No one can take that away from us. Ever. Music is our binding force, music is our home. As Mickey Hart poignantly said in response to these attacks, “music is the best healing agent we know.” Music is our lifeblood, one of our quintessential reasons for being, and it can never be silenced.
Words: Russell S. Glowatz